Contact Us



The Right Way to Give


Wise Solomon wrote, “When you give to a poor man, you are lending to G‑d.” That’s because G‑d repays all charitable funds—along with handsome dividends—here, in this world. According to the Prophet Malachi, G‑d even challenges us, saying, “Try it and see.”

Doing It Right:

The highest form of tzedakah (charity) is to provide self-sufficiency. Extend a loan to a friend, allowing him to embark on a business project; help an acquaintance find a job or bring her into your family business.

No one should have to pay with his dignity for another’s assistance. That’s why it’s better to give anonymously. Similarly, give before you are asked. Spare the fellow the embarrassment of having to beg.

And the main ingredient: Give with a smile and genuine warmth. No one should have to pay with his dignity for another’s assistanceHow you give, our sages taught, is more important than how much you give!

The Right Time to Do It:

It’s always the right time to give. But certain times are more auspicious than others.

Drop a few coins in the pushka (charity box) before your prayers. Provide for others and G‑d will provide for you.

Women and girls should do the same before lighting Shabbat and holiday candles—before ushering in the holiest days on the calendar.

It’s an age-old tradition to pledge money to tzedakah in the merit of the souls of departed loved ones while saying Yizkor. In their heavenly abode they cannot do mitzvahs, so it’s up to us to do it for them.

The Result of Doing It:

When G‑d made the world, He left us the task of injecting it with spirituality and meaning. Nothing accomplishes this goal like tzedakah. Give tzedakah, and all the effort which went into making that hard-earned money takes on a new meaning, serving more than a selfish need. That’s why our sages tell us: “Great is charity, for it hastens the Redemption!”

Illustrations by Yehuda Lang. To view more artwork by this artist, click here.
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with's copyright policy.
Join the Discussion
Sort By:
1000 characters remaining
Ken Taylor Brampton May 20, 2013

Beauty in Giving No one should have to pay with his dignity for another’s assistance. I love the way that is said. It is so true. At age eighteen, I rode back home on a Greyhound bus to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario from a little town called Espanola. I sat with an elderly Jewish man and we talked about life, ambition, goals, success, the mystery of women, hope etc. That was about twenty-five years ago. As a middle aged man, I can now see how he helped encourage and guide my thinking upwards while making me feel these truths were coming from me. I took ownership of my own dreams on the highway between two towns that night and as the poem goes "taking the road less traveled has made all of the difference". It was like five hours with Jack Lemon. I miss Mr. Syroid. It's a funny thing how just the right person at just the right time can alter the course of your life. Reply

ruth housman marshfield, ma April 4, 2013

Re my tzedakah list I give all the time. Obviously I am not waiting around to give but I do have a feeling I will hit the jackpot. In a way, the deepest possible way, I did. I am not looking for personal wealth. I have this in spades in all that I love, in being. Reply

S. Shanner Canada March 29, 2013

for Ruth Housman, re: charity giving You mention that 'one day' you feel you will fall into alot of money. The idea of tzedakah, is not to wait for 'alot of money', but to give 10% everytime you receive your paycheque.
That is what Judaism says about giving tzedakah. The amount of money that one has is determined by G-d, don't be waiting for something that you don't have.

Utilize what you have the mitzvah now.

Wishing you much success! Reply

ruth housman marshfield hills, ma August 28, 2011

My Tzedakah Jar: a jar of hearts A long time ago I got a beautiful hand made jar at The Hadassah Gift Store, now defunct, in Brighton, MA. I take this coin and give it away when I remember to bring loose change with me. I keep a list of charities that I would love to contribute to, and of course the list could be, endless, as there are so many deserving projects. I had the feeling maybe one day I would come into a lot of money, and so I have made a promise to G_d that this money will be used in this way.

A while back I attended a Daniel Pearl Memorial and the young man seated next to me, was talking to another, about how he would give away money, and he was so wise, because he talked about promoting the self worth of others in such an endeavor. I vowed he would be hired by me for sure, and I took his name. He is a realtor.

It would be such a great mitzvah to do this, to help others around the world. I think however we do this, big and small are surely equal.

My list keeps growing. Reply

just_me cincinnati August 26, 2011

obedience to G-d That’s why our sages tell us: “Great is charity, for it hastens the Redemption!”

I like to place the focus upon G-d rather than myself. I want to do things out of obedience to Him rather than "to hasten redemption" which focuses upon myself and what I can get from doing good. Reply

Diana Houston, TX June 7, 2011

Giving Malachi 3:
10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
God is my final authority to the best of my ability. Reply

Bhasker Bangalore, India June 7, 2011

tithes and first fruits to priest ? how? is it followed to-date? Reply

ruth housman marshfield, ma March 29, 2011

How do we give when now we are being assaulted on Face book with pure venom, and a Jewish man is allowing this to happen, despite his own rules that this venue is not to be used to disseminate and organize around hate.

How do we give when May 30 has been designated as a day to boycott Israeli goods, and I don't know who or what hate organization decided on this.

How do we give when people dance when a family including little children are brutally murdered in israel?

what exactly are we supposed to be doing these daze of utter venomous hate?

I am feeling our world is being turned upside down, once again, and it seems the lessons of history are never learned, and so it seems those who condemn are actually condemning themselves because this lack of giving, this demeaning of people, is truly a taking away of their own pesonal meaning. We do not feel better by killing others and by defining the "other" and yet, the world have never got this straight.

I love, therefore I am. How hard is this? Reply

Chani Benjaminson, March 27, 2011

Multiples of 18 Hi Elijah, it's not a myth at all, rather it's a Jewish custom to donate in increments of 18, please see this link for the reason for this custom: Reply

ruth housman marshfield hills, ma March 27, 2011

multiples of eighteen There may be a "rabbinical" explanation to this. My explanation is that l8 is CHAI, denoting LIFE in Hebrew, as in our toast, L"CHAYIM! So multiples of eighteen might be said to be powerful.

Last night, speaking of wine and toasting, I was in New York at The Winery, to hear some beautiful music. My husband and I were placed at Table l8 with a couple already seated. They turned out to be lovely and we embraced at the end of this evening and have made new friends.

Who seats us?

I say look to a cosmic dance and then thank the GIVER, because it's a GIFT. TZEDAKAH from on high. Reply

elijah Millbrae, CA March 24, 2011

tzedakah/charity/donation What is the mystery or myth of donating in multiples of 18? Please explain thank you very much. Reply

Richard Cape Town, South Africa March 2, 2011

to give an opportunity recieved Thank you G_d for the opportunity you provide for me to be able to Give Reply

Raymon Bastarache Plaster Rock NB, Canada March 2, 2011

The Right Way To Give For GOD loveth a cheerful giver. Give as the Lord hath prospered you. Give willingly, and do not be "bled" or squeezed like a young grape to get the wine out because it is not ripe. We ought to be like the honeycomb, dropping spontaneously. He who lives for himself must be wretched. God in turn loves anything that makes His people happy... I must be Merciful so as I can obtain Mercy... is also a secret of giving. Shalom. Reply

Cena Abergel Los Angeles, CA March 2, 2011

pay it back This is such a right on article...and so timely...all of us have encountered that scruffy looking fellow in front of the market, or next to the coffee shop many times have we scooted around him or her, or pretended we just didn't see them, or worse yet, grugingly toss a coin or two into their outstretched hand. Try this time you see a fellow human being who is so obviously down on their luck...approach them first, take out a dollar and place it in their hand as you smile and look at their will make all the difference in the world not only to them, but to you and G-d! Reply

Alyse Talia Ottawa, Ontario May 25, 2010

Such a beautiful article. Thank you so much, I am very grateful. Reply

ruth housman newton, ma May 25, 2010

tzedakah I keep a list on my computer that's growing, and I call it, Ruth's Tzedakah List.

I am writing a manuscript. I think this manuscript is very important, and I know I am not in charge of its contents, or when these contents are revealed. But this I do know, that all these charities, and others, will receive whatever monies come from this script.

Now maybe this is an unusual story, but I just read something similar, about the Swedish writer, now deceased, who somehow seemed to "know", his books would sell in a major way. Sadly, he's deceased, having died of a heart attack on a day that would have been deeply meaningful to him, namely the memory of Kristallnacht. He was deeply involved in issues of justice that were Holocaust related.

His books are selling around the world and so somehow, he knew, and I hope his plans, for charity, is somehow heard and not denied. Surely his heirs will have enough! Reply

Diana Houston, TX May 24, 2010

Giving for departed people It doesn't make sense to me to continue to give pledges for people who are gone. I mean, participation in worldly things should be able to end once you die.

I have a monthly pledge that I give faithfully with each paycheck that I receive. Reply

Rodolfo Carlos Rabonza Sherman Oaks, CA February 16, 2010

charity I find it auspicious to give during the time of need. I know that when we fulfill a prayer of someone, G-d takes care of our prayers.

G-d bless you! Reply

Yocheved Malka salt lake city, ut June 14, 2009

Wonderful articles. Thank you. Reply

Related Topics